Versed Prize

UWEC alum finalist for poetry Pulitzer

Tom Giffey |

Elizabeth Willis
Elizabeth Willis

There is no better time for a poet to be named a finalist for a major literary award than during National Poetry Month. Elizabeth Willis, a graduate of Memorial High School and UW-Eau Claire, was selected as a finalist for this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection Alive: New and Selected Poems. Willis, a 1983 UWEC alum, is a professor of poetry at the esteemed Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She’s been called “one of our most gifted and historically attuned poets” by the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Alive was praised as “an amazing collision of the vulnerable and the mighty, the perishable and the explosive, the mundane and the cosmic” by the Boston Review. Alive, which was published last by New York Review Books, is her sixth volume of poetry, following Address (2011), Meteoric Flowers (2006), Turneresque (2003), The Human Abstract (1995), and Second Law (1993). The Pulitzer nomination isn’t Willis’ first high-profile honor: She received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012; Address won a PEN/New England Award; and The Human Abstract was a National Poetry Series honoree. Willis also has a long résumé as a scholar, having served as Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Mills College and as a professor at Wesleyan University. (And, in case you were curious, the Pulitzer for Poetry went to Peter Balakian for his volume, Ozone Journal.)

Journey Ahead

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